Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge.Hopefully, we will not find ourselves caught up in any of the conflicts listed above anytime soon. However, this does underscore the folly of starting a war that was not necessary for National Security and illustrates how it has, at least to some degree, weakened our National Security instead of strengthening it.
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The risk to the nation is serious and deepening, senior officers warn, because the U.S. military now lacks a large strategic reserve of ground troops ready to respond quickly and decisively to potential foreign crises, whether the internal collapse of Pakistan, a conflict with Iran or an outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula. Air and naval power can only go so far in compensating for infantry, artillery and other land forces, they said. An immediate concern is that critical Army overseas equipment stocks for use in another conflict have been depleted by the recent troop increases in Iraq, they said.
In addition, if other countries are aware that our military strength has been diminished by the Iraq conflict, or that we are too tied up in Iraq to be able to effectively combat threats elsewhere, this could embolden groups into action that might have otherwise been deterred by a fear of U.S. intervention.